Week in Washington: New HSA Rule, Surprise Billing Legislation Moving, and More

Week in Washington is brought to you by Michael Cohen, PhD. Tune in each week to read the latest on healthcare policy and get a glimpse of what’s on the horizon.

Week in Washington: New HSA Rule, Surprise Billing Legislation Moving, and More


Health Savings Account Rule:

The IRS released a new notice that increases the list of preventive care benefits permitted to be provided in a high deductible health plan (HDHP). Federal regulations prohibit health plans from providing members with HSAs from paying for non-preventative health care before the member hits her deductible. The new notice increases the number of services that can be covered pre-deductible. The new notice allows for the treatment for certain chronic conditions to be preventative.  

Surprising Billing:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee officially released its proposal to reduce surprise out of network billing. The bipartisan bill generally ties pay for out of network treatment to median insurance rates but, under certain circumstances, allows for arbitration. In terms of next steps, the full House would need to vote on the bill. While there is a similar bill on the Senate side, it is not nearly as far along. If everything comes together, a bill would not pass before the fall at the earliest. 

Cadillac Tax

The House overwhelming (419 to 6) voted to repeal the Cadillac Tax. The Cadillac tax is an attempt at cost containment via a tax on high cost plans and is currently scheduled to go into effect in 2022. The bill goes to the Senate although it is unclear if the Senate Majority leader will put the bill up for a vote.  

General Legislative Watch

Generally, all legislation will ground to a halt after next week as Congress will take its August recess. When it returns, budget matters, such as the Debt Ceiling, will dominate the agenda. The expectation is that no major legislation will pass in 2020 so various committees are positioning their legislation today with a goal of passing their bill in the fall as that is likely the only window to pass legislation until 2021.

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